For Immediate Release
January 26, 2012
State Board recommends responsible increase in education funding
$265.2 million increase from FY 2012 still below previous state funding levels for education; State funding has been reduced by about $650 million since FY2009
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education today approved a Fiscal Year 2013 State General Funds budget recommendation that provides a nearly $265.2 million, or 3.9 percent increase over the current year. The Board’s Fiscal Year 2013 proposal is still about $426 million less than the funding received in Fiscal Year 2009, the year with the highest level of education funding.
“We are taking a responsible approach to championing education in the state of Illinois,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “This budget reflects our efforts to balance the current economic situation with our role to advocate for education and fight vigorously against any more cuts in this area so critical to our future. Investing in education is an investment not only in the individual lives of more than 2 million students and their families, but also the economy and welfare of our state and nation.”
The Board’s recommendation provides increased funding in some specific line items such as early childhood education, bilingual education and several reform initiatives already under way in Illinois. Board members are recommending an increase of $201 million in General State Aid (GSA) during FY 13. Last year, insufficient funding was appropriated to pay GSA at the statutory Foundation Level of $6,119, which resulted in a statewide proration of 95 percent or an effective GSA Foundation Level of $5,953. However, attempting to increase transparency in budgeting, the Board’s FY 13 recommendation shows a decrease in the per-pupil GSA Foundation Level, despite the increase of $201 million in this line, from the FY 2012 level of $6,119 to $5,972.
“On behalf of the Board, I urge legislators to seriously consider increasing education funding for the first time in more than three years,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Our proposed budget reflects a very modest increase that would support local schools and ongoing reform efforts. We are implementing some of the more meaningful education reform measures in the history of our state, and nation, but we need lawmaker support to turn many of these initiatives into reality.”
The progress Illinois is making with its reform efforts was recently recognized by Education Week in their just released “Quality Counts 2012-The Global Challenge,” the publication’s annual edition grading states on their education systems. While the Board recognizes much work still needs to be done, Illinois’ standing improved 11 spots, from 40th to 29th. Illinois’ highest score was an A- in Standards, Assessments and Accountability, in recognition of work to adopt and implement the new Illinois Learning Standards based on the internationally benchmarked Common Core and our work with the Partnership for the Assessment of College and Careers. The ongoing implementation of recent education reforms means Illinois’ overall ranking will continue to improve.
The Board’s recommendation includes new line items to support comprehensive reform initiatives under way in Illinois. Continued work on these reform initiatives will ensure the state meets criteria outlined for the federal waiver to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, more commonly known as the No Child Left Behind). Some of proposed FY 2013 increases or expenses include:
- $201.3 million increase for General State Aid (GSA)
- $19.9 million increase for early childhood education, providing a 6.1 percent increase over FY12 levels but still falling short of the FY09 levels.
- $7 million increase in the bilingual education line item to help districts meet the needs of the growing bilingual population across the state and meet new mandates to provide bilingual preschool programs.
- $5.8 million increase for State Assessments which were cut by nearly 9 percent in FY11, to be used to assess the academic growth of additional students consistent with the parameters of the waiver application. This increase would also cover the cost of restoring the 11th grade PSAE writing exam, which was eliminated this year due to budget cuts.
- $4.1 million in additional funding to support new principal and teacher mentoring as outlined under comprehensive reform legislation, referred to as Senate Bill 7, signed into law last spring.
- $3 million appropriation for improvement strategies and interventions in the state’s lowest performing schools.
- $2.8 million increase in the amount of funding to pay incentives for recently-consolidated districts, and for feasibility studies as districts consider consolidation or another form of reorganization to increase efficiency.
- $2 million toward training educators on Common Core Standards implementation.
- $1 million appropriation toward support and resources for the growing population of homeless students in Illinois schools.
As part of the budget making process the Board conducted a series of five public budget hearings around the state last fall where citizens, local and state politicians and candidates were invited to voice their priorities. More than 80 people signed in at those hearings to advocate for increased funding and another 1,300 sent written comments, also calling on the Board to restore, maintain or expand funding for General State Aid and specific programs.
The Board based its decisions regarding programs and funding on several key principles, including support for the largest number of students and greatest flexibility for districts, minimizing the introduction of new programs and mandates in order to conserve resources and the alignment to ISBE’s strategic plan goals:
- Every student will demonstrate academic achievement and be prepared for success after high school.
- Every student will be supported by highly prepared and effective teachers and school leaders.
- Every school will offer a safe and healthy learning environment for all students.
The Illinois State Board of Education will provide its budget recommendation to the Governor and General Assembly for consideration as part of the overall State FY2013 state budget. The Board’s budget proposal is posted on www.isbe.net/budget.